Premier League 'disappointed’ at government decision to delay ‘safe return’ of fans to stadiums

The planned return of spectators to sports venues in England from 1 October could be on hold for six months due to fears over a second wave of coronavirus infections

Ben Burrows
Tuesday 22 September 2020 14:08
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The Premier League have expressed their disappointment at the government’s decision to delay the return of fans to stadiums.

The planned return of spectators to sports venues in England from 1 October could be on hold for six months due to fears over a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a range of restrictions in the House of Commons on Tuesday including those related to mass gatherings.

“We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events,” he said.

He said the measures being announced  would remain in place for "perhaps six months".

The Premier League have now responded indicating they believe a “safe return” of supporters to stadia is still possible.

“The Premier League notes the government’s announcement today and while the health of the nation must remain everyone’s priority, we are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed,” a statement read.

“The Premier League is certain that, through League-wide guidelines and a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the government’s Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted. This is already evident in other European leagues.

“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. Last season, Premier League clubs suffered £700m in losses and at present, our national game is losing more than £100m per month.  This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities.

“We are confident that Premier League clubs, using innovative ways to get supporters safely back into grounds, will enable revenues to return to all levels of the game, as well as maintain solidarity arrangements, current tax contributions and financial support for local and national economies.

“While there is a current pause in a date for fans returning to sports venues, the Premier League and our clubs will not slow down in our preparations for providing safe, bio-secure environments.  We will continue to work with government to bring supporters safely back into grounds as soon as possible.”

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